Labor Minister Mohammad Kabbara laid out a plan to reform the NSSF
Labor Minister Mohammad Kabbara laid out a plan to reform the National Social Security Fund over 2018 to resolve debt issues and improve service. “First and foremost, the [Lebanese] government needs to pay its debts to the NSSF. It is unacceptable that these debts are accumulating,” Kabbara told reporters during a news conference at his Tripoli office Tuesday.
He said the reforms will take place in four steps. “First we need to appoint a new board of directors.” He has already called on the Labor Union and other bodies to name their 10 candidates while the government will appoint the remaining six. “The lateness in appointing a new board has impeded the NSSF’s developments,” he said.
Then, the NSSF will launch an open call to hire more employees. “The NSSF is operating at half capacity. We have 1,100 employees presently, but we need 2,050.” There are also plans to open more offices across Lebanon to facilitate the work that would require even more people. A communication platform between the NSSF, hospitals and pharmacies will also be created to reduce the bureaucratic hurdles and control violations and mistakes.
The project is part of a program to improve and modernize the working of the agency that oversees health care and pensions for many public and private sector employees.
However, the most substantial reform concerns the Lebanese government. Kabbara stressed the need for the state to pay its debt to the NSSF. “The government owes [the NSSF] LL2,300,000,000 [$1.5 million],” he said. The NSSF has 610,000 people enrolled in its social security programs. “Thirty-five percent of the Lebanese population has signed up with the NSSF, more than a third of the population,” Kabbara said, “but the NSSF is operating at a deficit because the government doesn’t care about it.” He claimed that the NSSF can’t do its job if the government doesn’t pay bills. “Settling the debts will protect the rights of all citizens,” he said.